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What Parental Controls are Available on Apple Devices

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path by rating it at the end.

If you have kids and multiple Apple devices in your home, you've undoubtedly wondered how you can restrict those devices all at once. You don't want your kids playing on their iPad all hours of the night. You also don't want your kids looking at explicit websites. To prevent your kids from stumbling onto things you don't want them to witness, you need parental controls.

Apple has a robust parental control system that is constantly being updated. Their parental controls stretch over all Apple devices tied to your Apple ID account.

The system used to track and restrict Apple devices is called Screen Time. With Screen Time you can get a better understanding of the time you and your kids spend using apps, visiting websites, and on your devices overall. Screen Time generates weekly reports of:

  • Specific app usage
  • Any notifications received
  • Anytime the device is picked up
  • And literally tells you how often and how long the screen was looked at

Screen Time also lets you limit the amount of time you and your kids can spend each day on specific apps and websites. Under Screen Time you can create exceptions for apps, like Messages or education apps. If your kids go over the allotted time they can always request more time for you to approve.

You can also block certain apps and websites entirely. With Downtime you can schedule when everything will be blocked, such as hours when you're asleep. Apple Parental Controls even allow you to specify who your children can speak to through their devices.

Apple put a lot of thought and work into making these parental controls so you can easily keep your kids safe. Despite all the work Apple did, the best parental control is talking to your children.

Learn More About The Basics of Parental Controls
A shield with a parent and child on it. How Parental Controls Work

This is a general overview of concepts used in creating and editing Parental Control tools. Here you'll learn what the controls actually affect beginning with the application and going all the way to your network devices. This guide also links to several specific instructions to set parental controls up across a wide variety of devices and services.
Learn How to Set Apple Mac Parental Controls
apple iconHow to Set Parental Controls on a Mac

This is where you need to go if you want to create and adjust parental controls on your Mac computer.

You'll learn how to:
  • Create macOS user profiles
  • Setup separate accounts for your children
  • Convert those child accounts to managed accounts
  • Configure parental controls for your children
Parental Controls for Mobile Devices
Apple iphone family sharing iconSet Up Parental Controls iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

This guide will teach you how to use parental controls to set limits on their child's use of a iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

You'll Learn How To:
  • Set up and enable Family Sharing.
  • Set up an iOS device's Screen Time.
  • Set Downtime and App Limits.
  • Set Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  • Prevent iTunes & App Store purchases
  • Prevent explicit content and content ratings
  • Review Screen Time audits.

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If you have kids and multiple Apple devices in your home, you've undoubtedly wondered how you can restrict those devices all at once. You don't want your kids playing on their iPad all hours of the night. You also don't want your kids looking at explicit websites. To prevent your kids from stumbling onto things you don't want them to witness, you need parental controls.

Apple has a robust parental control system that is constantly being updated. Their parental controls stretch over all Apple devices tied to your Apple ID account.

The system used to track and restrict Apple devices is called Screen Time. With Screen Time you can get a better understanding of the time you and your kids spend using apps, visiting websites, and on your devices overall. Screen Time generates weekly reports of:

  • Specific app usage
  • Any notifications received
  • Anytime the device is picked up
  • And literally tells you how often and how long the screen was looked at

Screen Time also lets you limit the amount of time you and your kids can spend each day on specific apps and websites. Under Screen Time you can create exceptions for apps, like Messages or education apps. If your kids go over the allotted time they can always request more time for you to approve.

You can also block certain apps and websites entirely. With Downtime you can schedule when everything will be blocked, such as hours when you're asleep. Apple Parental Controls even allow you to specify who your children can speak to through their devices.

Apple put a lot of thought and work into making these parental controls so you can easily keep your kids safe. Despite all the work Apple did, the best parental control is talking to your children.

Learn More About The Basics of Parental Controls
A shield with a parent and child on it. How Parental Controls Work

This is a general overview of concepts used in creating and editing Parental Control tools. Here you'll learn what the controls actually affect beginning with the application and going all the way to your network devices. This guide also links to several specific instructions to set parental controls up across a wide variety of devices and services.
Learn How to Set Apple Mac Parental Controls
apple iconHow to Set Parental Controls on a Mac

This is where you need to go if you want to create and adjust parental controls on your Mac computer.

You'll learn how to:
  • Create macOS user profiles
  • Setup separate accounts for your children
  • Convert those child accounts to managed accounts
  • Configure parental controls for your children
Parental Controls for Mobile Devices
Apple iphone family sharing iconSet Up Parental Controls iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

This guide will teach you how to use parental controls to set limits on their child's use of a iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

You'll Learn How To:
  • Set up and enable Family Sharing.
  • Set up an iOS device's Screen Time.
  • Set Downtime and App Limits.
  • Set Content and Privacy Restrictions.
  • Prevent iTunes & App Store purchases
  • Prevent explicit content and content ratings
  • Review Screen Time audits.